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tv   Andrea Mitchell Reports  MSNBC  January 15, 2013 10:00am-11:00am PST

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your medical conditions and medications, and ask if your heart is healthy enough for sexual activity. do not take cialis if you take nitrates for chest pain, as this may cause an unsafe drop in blood pressure. do not drink alcohol in excess with cialis. side effects may include headache, upset stomach, delayed backache or muscle ache. to avoid long-term injury, seek immediate medical help for an erection lasting more than four hours. if you have any sudden decrease or loss in hearing or vision, or if you have any allergic reactions such as rash, hives, swelling of the lips, tongue or throat, or difficulty breathing or swallowing, stop taking cialis and get medical help right away. ask your doctor about cialis for daily use and a 30-tablet free trial. right now on "andrea mitchell reports" executive action. is president obama prepared to go it alone if congress won't crack down on guns? today new york lawmakers vote on the toughest gun laws in the nation, but in congress senate
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sxwrort leader harry reid pours cold water on an assault weapons ban unless the house acts first. >> let's be realistic. in the senate we're going to do what we think will get through the house, and i don't think going through these eyeragses to say we've done something. >> mother of ben wheeler tells rachel maddow that action on guns should trump politics. >> it's not just republican, democrat -- >> no, no. >> independent. that is the thing that is just blowing my mind that i feel like it's really not about your party. >> it's not. it's not. >> i really feel like it's about our children. coming clean. disgraced pro cyclist lance armstrong confesses to oprah winfrey he used performance enhancing drugs to win the tour de france. >> we were mesmerized and riveted by some of his answers.
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>> could he face criminal charges? critical vote. chuck schumer says he will back chuck hagel as defense secretary. secretary of state hillary clinton with a long-time ally, liberia's president ellen johnson surleaf. >> it's important to be here today to see that you have fully recovered from your recent illness. on "today" chelsea clinton speaks for the first time about her mom's recovery. >> she is exuding the energy, the vibrancy, and certainly the mental acuty that she always has. i am so grateful that she is not only fine, but healthy and vibrant and strong and, you know, god willing, will be for the next 65 years of her life. >> and chelsea clinton is also chairing the national day of service on saturday. more on that to come. good day.
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i'm andrea mitchell live in washington. the political cavalry has arrived. new york senator chuck schumer has given his seal of approval to president obama's defense nominee. any decision that could rally senate democrats and signal an easier path to confirmation for former senator chuck hagel. joining us now washington post columnist greta -- white house correspondent kristen welker. welcome both. kristen, what is the white house, breathing a huge sigh of relief now that they've reeled chuck schumer in on the hagel mom nation? >> this is hugely important. a lot of people looking to chuck schumer to see how he would come down on this issue. i think one of the key parts of the statement that chuck schumer announced was that he doesn't believe that some of these answers that hagel had given are just because he is in line to become the next defense secretary. he asked some questions about
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iran, his position on israel, and chuck schumer today coming out and saying that he feels confident that hagel is in line with where the president stands on these things, that he is willing to act unilaterally when it comes to iran and not take any options off the table, and that his position has changed because he understands that israel is now in really a defense position and is in a different place than when he made some of the those comments a few years ago. that will be the key moving forward, and, again, a lot of people looking to see what chuck schumer had to say before making the decision that, of course, barbara boxer also coming out and saying that she is going to support chuck hagel for this position. andrea. >> ruth, that clearly smooths the way because it was schumer's ambivalence and the ambivalence of other democrats, key democrats, even -- so if he weren't going to support chuck hagel, that would be a huge obstacle? >> that would have been a huge
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obstacle, but the cavalry was always coming, i think, i think senator schumer had concerns. i think probably excuse my cynicism here, but as a political matter with his constituency it was probably helpful for him to -- i'm not saying those concerns weren't valid and real, but also politically helpful to express those concerns, make it clear that he has done his due diligence, but i think that the chances that he was going to come out in the end or that senator boxer was going to come out in the end and -- i always thought those chances were pretty slim. now i think most certainly we'll see secretary hagel. >> kristen welker, gun control. now we're told that the event is going to be tomorrow. >> it could well be in the hour because they seem to like 1:00 from a scheduling point of view. it's iffing to be with mayors and children. children have written to the president about guns, and they are going to be involved in this.
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this is going to be a very big blow-out, and they've got the platform of the white house, something that congress doesn't really have. >> you're right. it's going to be a big roll-out, and, of course, coming before the maug rags. it really sets the stage for president obama to further press this agenda when he does give that inaugural address next week. we are expecting his proposals to include not only legislative proposals including reinstating the ban on assault weapons, limiting high capacity magazines, but also a number of executive actions that president obama believes that he can take, including expanding the database about people who own guns, limiting gun trafficking as well as increasing access to mental health. those are among the proposals we expect to hear the president announce tomorrow. a lot of eyes are going to be on that. he has gotten some fierce resistance among the republican ranks to the idea of rolling out a number of executive actions,
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including a representative steve stockman who has said this is potentially impeachable, so this is a highly debatable issue. it's a heated issue here in washington. a lot of people are going to be watching that closely, but it's going to be a big roll-out, andrea, and certainly a big part of president obama's second term agenda. >> jay carney has said it's going to be closer to the noon hour, so we're fwrafl for that. it will at least precede our program. all politics being local as tip o'neil would say. ruth, let's talk about the president's news conference yesterday because he said i am want negotiating. i'm not going to give house republicans anything for raising the debt ceiling. it's on them. if they want to take the heat for veterans benefits and social security benefits not getting to people, what game of chicken are we playing here? >> really high stakes game of chicken is what we're playing here. i had the occasion of going back and reading actually the president's first news conference after he became president, and he is talking then about his overtures to
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republicans and how he hopes he can create habits of good behavior. well, it's been four long years, and that was about the feistiest press conference spurred by nothing other than he just really wanted to send this signal once again. his message was i'm not backing down, and he is getting the message back from republicans that they aren't either. i think we're going to be asking ourselves which side is going to blink for the next several weeks. i don't know that -- i don't feel confident that i know the answer to that question. >> ruth marcus, thank you very much. kristen welker thank you, from the white house. new york state now is the first state to push ahead with what will be the toughest gun laws in the nation in the aftermath of newtown. led by governor andrew cuomo, the state senate passed the legislation overwhelmingly on monday. now it's up for a final votes in the assembly. >> politically this is a controversial area. i don't know how else to say it.
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you've had a small -- it's controversial nationwide. it's controversial here in the state. it is highly technical. to come up with the right program and meet a multi-fac multi-facetted program was not ease where i. >> new york congressman steve israel joins me now. congressman, thanks very much. welcome. let me ask you, first of all, about guns and what your state is about to do. led by mayor cuomo, and overwhelmingly voted in the senate. the assembly is expected to pass it as well. what will this accomplish given the fact that we have such -- every state is unto itself. will this make a difference in terms of law enforcement and safety for people in new york? >> well, that's just the issue. new york state now has embarked on one of the most sensible and comprehensive gun safety measures in the country, but if it's piecemeal, it doesn't entirely solve the problem. if you don't have background checks in other states, if you don't have access to mental
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health screenings and programs, if you don't have a regulation of assault magazines, and if those weapons can permanentate new york's borders, it makes it tougher. i hope that what governor cuomo did becomes a national model. not only to pass commonsense gun safety laws, but he did it in a bipartisan way. it was a reasonable set of initiatives. republican state senators voted for it. democratic state senators voted for it. conservative members. progressive members. they showed the united states of america under governor cuomo's leadership what can be done when you are willing to compromise and pursue commonsense. i hope that becomes a national model. not in terms of the style. substance counts. it won't be as effective if the rest of the country doesn't join us and allows loopholes to permanentate new york state. >> we talked about bipartisanship in new york state
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and albany which hasn'ts always seen that at all. let's talk about congress because you saw the president. he said we're not going to be a deadbeat nation. he is making the point literally that this is raising the debt limit to pay for things that have already been spent by congress, but you've got your republican colleagues saying not so fast. until you cut spending in a meaningful way, we're not going to raise the debt limit. this is not just the fiscal cliff, you know, which was a serious issue, but it could have been a couple of weeks of not having, you know, a budget, not having spending. this is the faith and credit of the united states. there are already warnings that there will be another downgrade. is the white house willing and do you think it's smart for the white house to take such a hard line and not be willing to talk at all with republicans? >> well, they're taking the right line. look, these republicans who say it is an act of courage to oppose an extension of the debt ceiling, that's not an act of courage. it's an act of sheer hypocrisy and an act of coward es.
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these same republicans have voted to spend. they voted for spending bills to send money to afghanistan, to send money to iraq, to send money into their own districts, to give money to oil companies. they've already voted for these spending bills, and now they're saying when it's time to actually pay the bill for their votes wropt to do it. it's the equivalent of anybody who goes to put something on their credit card and then calls the credit card company and says even though i bought it and used it, i don't feel like paying for it. i can understand them voting against spending. that's one thing. but don't vote for spending and then say i refuse to pay the bill and threaten the full faith and credit of the united states government, trigger an increase in interest rates, and thwart our economic recovery. that is just irresponsible. it is hip critical, and it is what is wrong with washington and it will fundamentally hurt our economy to make some cheap partisan hypocritical political points. >> congressman, i want to ask you about sandy because there's a vote on the house floor
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tonight, as you well know, and it is a very strange procedure that came out of the rules committee where he are going to have the base vote first and then the amendments. tell me how you think this is going to work for the community you represent. >> look, i'm not interested in a procedure. i'm interested in the outcome. >> what will the outcome be? >> i'm interested in the solution. the solution i hope will be a bipartisan vote to get this done. i have constituents who are still suffering. businesses that are still hurting. homeowners and renters who still need help. it is one thing to be devastated by a weather storm. it's another thing to be devastated by a political storm. i have been working with congressman peter king. with two county executives. county executive malone and dann. we have been working together. here's where i think we he wanted up. if there is a decent number of republican votes for these bills, democrats will do the right thing, and make sure that it gets over the top. people are sick and tired of the
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politics and they are sick and tired of the maneuvering. they want a solution. i'm cautiously optimistic that we're on the verge of a solution. it's just got to be bipartisan, and it's got to get done. >> how much money will be in the final bill that you think might get through? >> well, we've already done over $9 billion, but that was for flood insurance. there are two additional bills that we'll be voting on and several amendments. one for $17 billion and one for $33 billion. if all the commitments that have been made are kept, and if commonsense prevails, and you realize that storms cannot be partisan or political, i think we'll end up at $60 billion, which is where we should have been about 89 days ago. >> $60 billion, including the $9 billion -- >> that's right. that's what the senate passed. that's what the president wanted. that's what people who had damage need, and i think if everybody keeps their word, and, again, commonsense prevails, not easy in washington d.c., but if commonsense prevails, every and we put people ahead of politics, then i think we can end up near that figure. tonight around 7:00 or 8:00. >> well, we look forward to
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watching that vote closely. thank you very much, congressman. >> thanks. >> president obama vowed no negotiation on the debt ceiling. how are republicans responsibling? the confession the world had been waiting for, but what did lance armstrong really say to oprah? this is andrea mitchell reports only on msnbc.
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president obama says he won't offer republicans anything for raising the debt ceiling saying they will be to blame if americans lose social security or veterans benefits. are republicans worried about falling into a political trap over the debt ceiling showdown? joining me now kansas republican congressman tim. thank you very much. congressman, does the president's tough line in the sand make a difference to you as you go forward? there are no negotiations going
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as far as we can tell. >> i think it's time to deal with the problem. fiscal cliff deal wasn't a solution. we have a spending problem in washington d.c. >> i think congressman -- i think we've lost your audio. let's see if we can hear you now. congressman, let me -- >> can you hear me now? >> yes, i can hear you now. let me ask you again about where we stand. i don't think there are any negotiations going on. i apologize to you for the audio problem. >> there are no -- >> technical trouble. >> there are no negotiations going on right now, but the problem in washington is spending, and the president needs to face that problem, and we're iffing to work on that on the republican side. >> the president challenged the republicans to come up with what they have said that they could produce. can you produce that kind of a budget deal that is balanced and that has enough spending cuts, real spending cuts, to balance
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any tax revenues? >> well, i think we need to look at long-term and that's where the house has passed the budget. we're still waiting on the senate to pass the budget after 1,350 days. you need to have that on the table from the senate side. you obviously need to have that from the president who has not told us when he is going to send his budget over. is he going to miss those dead looirchz. we have a lot of work to do, but it deals with spending. that's the problem. i want to avoid a downgrade, and i do agree with the vice president of the united states that says we're not going to default on our debt. that's clear. we have enough payments coming in to the treasury to pay our interest on the debt, and that's how we avoid the default, but we've got to focus on the spending problem, and that's what most of my constituents are talking about. >> i want to ask you about the gun control debate because the president is going to be rolling out a new proposal tomorrow, and he is prepared to use executive action in some ways if congress won't act. harry reid has said that until the house votes something on the assault weapon ban that we know is going to be proposed, he is not going to take it up in the senate.
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will the house pull this -- take this up and do something meaningful on assault weapons and on the magazine clips because of newtown, because the whole country has been rethinking this since newtown? >> i was on the police officer of the u.s. house this morning. with former speaker nancy pelosi and many others, and the second amendment is part of that, as is the first amendment to speak about what we would like to do and readdress agreements. look at what the president provides. it's troubling to me that the president says if congress doesn't do what i want, i'm iffing to issue an executive order. you know, the power to make laws starts in the house and senate, and that's where we'll take a look at this, but, again, many my district and in many others overwhelmingly people in kansas are not looking for new laws out of washington. they're looking for more involvement in their communities and their families, at the state level rather than the washingtonian law. >> new york state is taking action today. the toughest gun laws in the
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country. again, if things are not done at the federal level, guns move across state borders very, very easily. doesn't there need to be some federal law? >> there are obviously plenty of laws, and that's one concern i do have is the failure to enforce current laws. unless we're going to enforce the current laws on the books and that states at the administration, starts at the state level as well, and it doesn't make sense to pile more laws on top of it, and the numbers we've seen is the declining law enforcement of our current gun laws, and that starts with the administration and moves on down, and i think republicans and democrats can agree on that, that let's look at the enforcement and see if we're following through on the other laws we've passed because there's this send tendency to say, hey, let's pass a new law when the problem is lack of enforcement. i think that should be part of the debate. >> of course, the gun law loopholes which no amount of enforcement would change that unless something is done to actually close those loopholes. let me play a little bit of what two of the mothers in newtown
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from sandy hook elementary lost their children had to say about this yesterday. >> this is a promise. to have the conversations on all the issues, conversations where listening it as important as speaking. conversations where even those with the most opposing views can debate in goodwill. >> this is a promise to turn the conversation into action. sfwhoo what do you say to those grieving mothers? >> i said to two folks in four different town halls is let's have the conversation. let's talk about how we solve the problem. let's talk about mental health issues. let's talk about enforcement of current gun laws. let's talk about violence glorfied by hollywood and violence in our video machines and all the games our kids play because we have a violent culture, and that contributes to that and, yes, it's long overdue for a good debate, a good solid debate about what is the
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solution to the problem. you've got to identify the problem as well. it's a good time to start, but trying to bypass congress with an executive order doesn't allow a conversation. it simply continues to put more power in the presidency rather than more power in folks that represent the entire population across the country. >> do you agree with one of your colleagues who is talking about this as a possible impeachable offense and talking about articles of impeachment if the president takes action without congress? >> we'll see what the actions are. presidents long before the current president have used executive orders and have done that in a way that folks have argued might have bypassed constitutional authority in congress. it just depends on what he plans on doing, but, again, he has it in his power today to step up enforcement against current violations of gun laws, and i would encourage him to do that. i would encourage the justice department to present a proposal by which they're going to do that. if they need additional resources to -- come with that proposal in your budget, and
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hopefully next month we'll have real concrete proposals to step up the current gun laws. >> thank you very much. thanks for being with us today. >> up next, lance armstrong's so-called apology. why is he supposedly coming clean? [ ship horn blows ] no, no, no! stop! humans. one day we're coming up with the theory of relativity, the next... not so much. but that's okay -- you're covered with great ideas like optional better car replacement from liberty mutual insurance. total your car and we give you the money to buy one a model year newer. learn about it at liberty mutual insurance. responsibility. what's your policy? just begin with america's favorite soups. bring out chicken broccoli alfredo. or best-ever meatloaf. go to for recipes, plus a valuable coupon. campbell's. it's amazing what soup can do.
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how many times do i have to say it? >> i'm just trying to make sure your testimony is clear. >> well, it can't be any clearer that i have never taken drugs. incidents like that could never have happened. how clear is that? >> that was then. this is now. that was lance armstrong during a deposition in 2005 repeatedly denying drug use. now it appears armstrong has finally come clean, or partially clean, with a so-called confession to oprah winfrey. >> i didn't get all the questions asked, but i think the most important questions and the
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answers that people around the world have been waiting to hear were answered. emotional doesn't begin to describe the intensity or the difficulty that i think that he experienced in -- in talking about some of these things. >> that was oprah on cbs this morning. nbc's ann thompson has been following the story, and nbc's justice correspondent pete williams joins me now as well here. ann, you followed this, and you know the pain of those at livestrong and other cancer survivors who really believed in this man. talk to me about that as well. >> well, i think that's very, very difficult. there are a lot of cancer survivors who looked up to lance armstrong as a hero. here was a guy who had testicular cancer that moved to his stomach, his lungs, and his brain, and survived, and then won seven tour de frances ---ure tours defrance, which is one of the most difficult athletic events in the world. i mean, it is both a race of
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physical and mental endurance. he always said he did it cleanly, even when everybody else was doping, and he said it again and again and again. not just in that deposition, but in literally hundreds of interviews, and to now find out that all of that was a lie is very disappointing. i think for cancer survivors. you know, andrea, i have been talking to people who were close to lance armstrong, and he said he made this decision over the christmas holiday when he was in hawaii, and i keep asking people why would he come forward now, and they said they think that he felt the immediate to address the u.s. anti-doping agency report that came out in october, that detailed the dope and that also accused him of being the head of this conspiracy. he also said he feels very badly about what has happened to the livestrong foundation that he founded and also that he wants
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to get back into competition, triathlons. that's what he was doing before he was banned for life because of the report. he wants to get back to competing. lance armstrong has competed all his life, and it is an element, a big element, of his life that is now missing. >> according to a statement today from the world anti-doping agency, only when mr. armstrong makes a full confession under oath and tells the anti-doping authorities all he knows about doping activities can any legal and proper process for him to seek any reopening or reconsideration of his lifetime ban commence. pete williams, what are the legal implications here? does he have exposure? >> oh, yes, i think so. this seems to be a calculated risk. he will undoubtedly be sued. the clip where he testified in a lawsuit down therebying the people that were suing him may come back after him for money that was paid as a result of winning the tour de france. it seems unlikely he could be prosecuted for purge. the federal government could reopen its criminal investigation of him if he does, in fact, make statements
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admitting to this, and the justice department could join a false claim or whistle blower lawsuit that's been brought by floyd landis because of the fact that the tour de france team was sponsored by the u.s. postal service, and the claim is the deposit was defrauded. so, you know, clearly he is going to get sued. he is going to have more legal exposure, but it seems to be a decision by his team that they'll just face that and deal with it as it comes. >> and already individuals who are really hurt, ann. betsy andrew, the former family friend of armstrong's, talk to harry smith for rock center and compared armstrong to bernie madoff. this was only in october. >> because bernie madoff was one of the biggest frauds in the history of the world. m history of finance maybe. lance is the biggest fraud in the history of sport. >> what happens to his teammates and to all the others that are affected by this?
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he is saying apparently to oprah that there was a level playing field because this was what was done. this was common practice. does that mean that everyone is now tarred with this reputation as well? >> well, many of his former teammates were caught cheating at different points in time. tyler hamilton, floyd landis, and then they all turned on armstrong, and andrea, when they vacated those seven tour de france titles, they did not award them to anyone else because the sport was so tainted at the time, but, you know, as everyone knows, you know, everybody else was doing it is never a good excuse, and certainly is nott an excuse in this case. people like betsy andrews felt that not only they were telling the truth and then the whole lance armstrong machine came down on them, they felt that they were intimated into keeping silent and these are people who have been deeply, deeply hurt,
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and what is not known is if armstrong at this point has made any kind of outreach to apologize for what they've been through not just for a day or for a month, but literally for years. >> ann, if i can get personal for a moment. i think as a fellow cancer survivor, i think that you wore a livestrong bracelet. have you taken it off? >> well, i actually -- mine broke, and i think like many people who wear livestrong bracelets, i wore mine for my cousin, danny, who had cancer of the esophagus and the liver and who passed away about a year ago, and danny was diagnosed about the same time that the livestrong bracelets came out. i never wore that bracelet because of lance armstrong. it was a very, very personal thing, and i always wore it as a remembrance of what danny was going through every day in his life that he could never escape cancer, and i always wanted to have it on my wrist so i would always remember his struggle. >> wow.
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thanks for sharing, but it just brings home that what lance armstrong did and what he represented is very personal for millions and millions of people. i remember when after my diagnosis they sent me a bracelet and materials from him, and it just is incredibly disillusioning, as it is with other athletes who have been proved to be cheaters. >> i mean, when you think about all of this was built on lies, and i -- that is what is very, very hard to get your head around. andrea. >> and as pete williams points out, there could be legal ramifications ahead of him. >> absolutely. >> thank you, pete. ann, thank you so much. still ahead here a major roadblock clears for chuck hagel. and our women making history continues in the senate with michigan democrat debbie stabinau. ♪
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[ male announcer ] why do more emergency workers everywhere trust duracell...?? duralock power preserve. locks in power for up to 10 years in storage. now...guaranteed. duracell with duralock. trusted everywhere. president obama has signalled his strong support for an assault weapons ban and
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background checks among other measures, but he faces an uphill battle in the house, and harry reid appears to doubt that it can pass in the senate or will even come nup the senate if it doesn't pass in the house. now michigan debbie stabinau joins me. thank you for being with us today. >> absolutely. >> what do you think the future is for gun control measures in congress, and would you vote for it? >> well, andrea, i think it's very important that we bring some commonsense to this discussion, and certainly my heart goes out to all of those who have lost their children, their grandchildren. i also grew up in a small rural community in northern michigan, and i'm very support tiff of our hunting heritage and outdoor recreation, all the things that we hold dear, but commonsense says that when 40% of the guns that are purchased don't have any kind of criminal background check for someone on possible terrorist watch list or someone who has a mental illness and has been in an institution, there's
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something wrong with that. from my standpoint, it's about preserving our heritage, but also having some commonsense to be able to protect us from those who should not be owning weapons. >> do you think harry reid should bring this up even if there has not been a house vote? should the senate show leadership here and perhaps try to build support for it rather than playing, you know, the sort of usual washington game of after you? >> well, i know senator reid is a very practical person in looking at what can get done, but i do believe that we need to bring this forward and so a lot of support in the senate for doing something that makes sense, and making sure that those who can't pass a criminal background check aren't able to go through some kind of a loophole to be able to get a weapon, and so i think we should move forward and build support, and i think that there are those around the country and certainly
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in michigan who feel very strongly that while they own a gun and they hunt and they are very involved themselves in outdoor recreation, they want to make sure our laws make sense. >> i want to play something that the president said yesterday. you know, there are 20 women, as you know better than anyone, 20 women senators now. >> right. >> which is more than ever before. some would say still not enough for real parody, but the president seems to be, you know, losing elevation at least on the numbers of women in his cabinet in the big posts, and he was asked about it by jackie of the morning times yesterday at the news conference. this was his answer. >> if you think about my first four years, the person who probably had the most influence on my foreign policy was a woman. the people who were in charge of moving forward, my most important domestic initiative, health care, were women.
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the person in charge of our homeland security, was a woman. my two appointments to the supreme court were women. 50% of my white house staff were women. i think people should expect that that record will be built upon during the next four years. >> are you disappointed, though, that so far at state treasury, cia, we know the nsc, defense, that it's all white men, and we have not heard yet at least of any female appointments at chief of staff or any of the other top, top jobs m white house staff. >> well, andrea, obviously i'm very supportive of having women in every possible position, high reigning position in our government. i want to compensated commend the president on his first term. he did have two openings to the united states supreme court and filled both of them with highly
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qualified womenwomen and had a really outstanding cabinet. i'm going to reserve my judgment until all of the appointments are made. i'm going to continue to urge that women -- our voices, our experiences are in key places throughout the government, and certainly that has been the case in the first four years, and i'm confident that as things unfold, it will be the case in the second four years. >> and, finally, now, chuck schumer has signed on. barbara boxer has signed on to chuck hagel. is there anything so far in his record that would make you think you're going to vote against chuck hagel? >> well, andrea, i worked with chuck and certainly as a senator respected him. i'm looking forward to sitting down and talking with him. i want to hear at the hearings, his comments about the concerns that have been raised as well. a mof my constituents have raised concerns. i just want to talk to him about those before making a publication of my support, but i certainly think that as he moves
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>> chuck hagel picked up a big endorsement today from senator chuck schumer and barbara boxer. will that be enough to get him confirmed? joining us is william cohen, a republican, i should point out, a former republican senator who bill clinton brought in. to bring a republican into his cabinet. you're the clear predicate for what the president -- this president, is trying to do with chuck hagel. what about chuck hagel and all the criticisms of past positions on iraq on the surge, his relationship with john mccain, obviously a troubling factor in terms of mccain's response.
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>> he is well quadfied. i have known him for years. the president has known him for years. he is entitled to have the people he wants for his cabinet, unless there's? fundamental character flaw or policy difference which would make that person unqualified. i think you have to start with that premise, and i think you start with that premise, then you will not find the disqualifying factors there. chuck hagel is well known to the president. he is very, very well founded in foreign policy, security policy. he is a substantive individual, serious-minded, tough-minded, and blunt. >> is he tough enough to cut the pentagon budget where you know in this era that it has to be deeply cut? can he get that through without republican allies because he does seem to be short of republican allies? >> well, i think republicans and democrats are going have to decide what is our mission. what are the threats? what are the requirements to meet those threats, and then
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devise a budget that needs -- if you start with a premise, we're just iffing to cut the budget, and then we'll decide what our policy is going to be, i think we're heading down the wrong path. i think policy first, what are the requirements, and then decide what the budget will be. i think he is tough enough and strong enough and bringing republicans and democrats together. i think both parties should want a strong national defense consistent with the threats that we have to meet and to appropriate the dollars necessary to meet those threats. that's what this should be. get a strategy first and don't look at the budget first. the strategy and then the budget to conform to the requirements. i think he is strong enough to take that. >> let me ask you about mali. jay carney announced at the white house that we are -- the u.s. is going to provide some logistical support to the french. this is against rebels that were previously armed and trained by the united states. this is real blowback, the classical sense of blowback. the french are facing a
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situation in mali, primarily, which we helped to contribute to. >> well, it's similar perhaps to what happened in afghanistan. >> exactly. >> we armed the resistance there to satisfy our objectives at the time, and then that changed. so i think what we've seen is al qaeda is like a cancer. it continues to metasticize. what takes place in afghanistan, you honey to roll it back, and it moves on to africa and now mali. now we have the french in the league with the united states saying -- the african countries to be prepared to deal with acts of terror in their own countries and that great continent as such, but we did not have troops on the ground. we have a command structure based in germany. not in africa. so we have been trying to help the afghan nation prepare their own forces. some were very reluctant to get
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into on our own. we'll have communications, some transportation, certainly intelligence. i have no doubt that the president is not thinking of putting troops on there. i don't think that's in the cards. >> no boots on the ground in mali? >> i don't think so. i think the french are looking at that. there may be other countries, certainly african countries, and perhaps some of the middle eastern countries, the gulf states may want to do that. i think the united states is going to be very reluctant and should be. >> thank you very much. events to mark what would have been dr. martin luther king jr.'s 84th birthday. a wreath is laid in observance. leaders used the message of nonviolence to press for tighting gun control. >> today's actually the 84th birthday of the reverend dr. martin luther king jr. i don't know about you but i
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which political story will make headlines next 24 hours? jonathan capehart joins me now. sportscaster extraordinaire. >> extraordinaire. >> exactly. thank you very much for joining us. tomorrow, the president will announce the task force and proposals for gun control. it's a big white house event with mayors, children writing in from around the country. getting out front of this debate early and quickly. >> right. the event tomorrow at 11:45. this is something that the president asked vice president biden this chair, this task force, to give him recommendations in response to
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the tragedy at newtown, connecticut, sandy hook elementary school happening a month ago yesterday so now tomorrow we'll find out what exactly is in the list of regd dagss. news reports in "the washington post" and "the new york times" say that there will be 19 specific actions that the president could do on his own. tomorrow, we'll find out exactly what those are. >> and we'll all be watching. thank you very much, jonathan. that does it for us for this edition of "andrea mitchell reports." tomorrow, chris coons joining us live and joaquin castro. tamron hall is next. next hour, more on the plan president obama will unveil tomorrow. yes, we confirmed it. he'll outline that comprehensive plan tomorrow to combat gun violence, it comes as several states get ready to pass some of the toughest gun laws in the country.
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